The keystone of the Library Freedom Project is our privacy workshop for librarians. We developed these trainings with our main institutional partner, the ACLU of Massachusetts, and we are fortunate to work with ACLU affiliates across the country when visiting libraries in different states. Our typical privacy training lasts about 3-4 hours, and is organized as follows:

Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Project at the ACLU of Massachusetts, who also runs the website PrivacySOS, reviews some of the major surveillance programs and authorizations, including the USA PATRIOT Act, section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, PRISM, XKEYSCORE, and more, connecting the NSA’s dragnet with FBI and local police surveillance. Kade focuses particularly on the uses of surveillance against historically marginalized communities like Muslim Americans, people of color, and political activists, and details the chilling effect of surveillance on speech and writing.

Jessie Rossman, staff attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts and surveillance law expert, offers a “Know Your Rights” training for librarians, detailing the contours of federal and local privacy law, as well as providing information on how to respond when served with an information request such as a National Security Letter, administrative subpoena, or warrant.

Alison Macrina, director of the Library Freedom Project, closes the workshop by demonstrating technology tools that can help thwart surveillance from the intelligence agencies’ dragnet and the massive data collection done by corporate entities. These tools can be installed on public computers or taught to patrons in computer classes, and provide practical ways for everyday people to prevent search tracking, browse the web anonymously, and encrypt some of their online communications. The range of tools covered offer solutions for people at all levels of technical ability.

When Kade and Jessie are not available to travel to privacy workshops in other states, the local ACLU affiliate will cover their portions of the workshop.

In addition to the core training outlined above, we are happy to visit library conferences and staff events to offer abridged versions of the training. We can also give workshops covering some of the more advanced privacy-enhancing technologies, or focusing on one tool in particular (for example, PGP email encryption). We’re also available to teach digital security classes to library communities, and we’re happy to offer continued technical support for librarians who’ve decided to test out some of our suggested technologies.

We also work on special projects and events with our institutional partners. Recently, we held an awesome conference called Digital Rights in Libraries. Check out the event recap and original announcement here.

Lastly, we are happy to conduct workshops on more specific topics related to privacy and security. We can conduct advanced trainings on privacy technologies, tailor our trainings to the needs of specific user groups (eg youth, LGBTQ folks, activists, journalists) or use cases (eg preventing doxing), and more. Please get in touch for more information.